How to be happy: Remember that sad feelings do not last forever

'I feel tense and tired a lot of the time and my mood is up and down, which isn't like me. I probably work too hard and have recently been unlucky in love, which I suspect isn't helping. Any ideas?' D.

Step 1: The feelings you describe suggest that you are depleted and low in emotional and physical resources. Taking care of your real feelings would be a good starting point. Perhaps you need time to mourn being unlucky in love? We often underestimate the impact such events have on our lives, expecting ourselves to move on unrealistically quickly, attempting to distance ourselves from a loss that is ultimately always painful. Recognise that you need time to let go of something that was important to you and that it is natural to feel emotionally vulnerable.

Our feelings come in waves. Mind and body cannot sustain extreme emotional states for very long – homeostasis demands that we return to equilibrium to conserve energy. Knowing that despite the mood fluctuations, the low feelings will eventually abate will help alleviate some of the suffering you feel. Gently tell yourself that your sad feelings will not last, they will pass, as all feelings ultimately do. The less attached to them you can be, the sooner this will occur.

Step 2: To regenerate we need to invest in ourselves both emotionally and physically. The fatigue you feel suggests you are neglecting your health and wellbeing. Schedule in time to nurture yourself through exercise, relaxation and sleep. This is essential if you habitually work long hours or give of yourself constantly. Take this aspect of your life seriously; without your health you would not be able to work at all, so a balance is required. If your work is demanding, you must rest commensurately.

Step 3: If, despite your best efforts you still feel tense and low, try this simple breathing technique for a few moments several times throughout the day: while breathing in, say to yourself, "Take" and while breathing out say to yourself, "Care". This will remind you of what is truly important: to respect and take good care of your feelings, your health and your wellbeing. Taking care of ourselves is both compassionate and wise. For if we do not take good care of ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to?

Cecilia is Mind journalist of the year. If you would like her to answer your problems email her at c.dfelice@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
health
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
News
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
news
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Lars Ulrich of Metallica performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people
Arts and Entertainment
film
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Pharmacuetical

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Real Staffing, one of the UK'...

    Associate Recruitment Consultant - IT

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Computer Futures has been est...

    IT Technician (1st/2nd line support) - Leatherhead, Surrey

    £23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Technician (1st/2nd line support)...

    Business Analyst

    £300 - £350 per day: Orgtel: Job Title: Business Analyst Rate: £300 - £350 per...

    Day In a Page

    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform